So you’ve got the main course, but what the heck do you eat on the side? Instead of slaving away in the kitchen or resorting to unhealthy packaged products try one of these healthy side dishes and recipes for grains, veggies and yes, even fries!
In my dream world, all meals could be cooked in one pot in under 15 minutes but those are hard to come by! When it comes to dinner, the sides are always the kicker for me. I find that I can whip up a main dish fairly quickly but it’s the sides that end up taking FOREVER.
There are times when one-pot madness meals sense, but in my home stuffed chicken and baked salmon always calls for healthy side dishes. And preferably ones that don’t take up much room on a pan in the oven.
I’ve pulled together 35 healthy side dishes that are packed full of nutrition, taste awesome and are super duper easy. Many are also gluten-free and low carb. I hope these inspire you to step out of your cooking zone and make some magic in the kitchen. Enjoy!
Healthy Side Dishes: Grains
Hello whole grains! A meal doesn’t feel quite as satisfying if there isn’t a grain involved. Plus they’re a great source of fiber. Here are some of my favorite healthy grain sides.
Watermelon Feta and Mint Quinoa Salad – This is one of my favorite healthy sides as the weather starts to get warmer. The combination of hearty quinoa + sweet watermelon + slightly salty feta is amazing!
Wild Rice Pilaf with Butternut Squash – You’ll love this warm side dish that combines wild rice and roasted veggies.
Apricot & Edamame Quinoa Salad – Eat this as a side dish or even a main! Perfect for lunch or dinner with a healthy dose of antioxidants.
Israeli Quinoa Salad – Anything with Mediterranean flavors and I’m sold! Packed with flavor and nutrient-dense ingredients this salad features quinoa, cucumber, tomatoes and onion.
Harvest Grain Salad – Another favorite side dish. It’s a delicious mixture of quinoa, fresh vegetables, nuts, dried fruit and a dressing that brings it all together.
Quinoa Cooked in the Microwave – Had to throw in this genius kitchen hack from Fit Foodie Finds… did you know you can cook quinoa in your microwave in less than 10 minutes?! Quinoa is a great alternative to brown rice. Bookmarking this!
Healthy Side Dishes: Fries
Yes, fries are getting their own category! I’m sharing french fries made from a variety of healthy side dish recipes. Just chop and bake and you’ve got a delicious (and healthy!) side.
Sweet Potato Fries – Everyone needs a recipe for sweet potato fries in their back pocket. I’m sharing how to make them actually crispy!
Oven Baked Fries – these are a healthier alternative to deep frying! My go-to when making a healthy fry recipe! No air fryer required either and roasted with olive oil!
Baked Yuca Fries – If you’ve never tried yuca fries you need to! Seriously one of my favorite fries.
Crispy Curly Fries – Miss curly fries from your favorite fast food joint? Make them at home!
Baked Zucchini Fries – I don’t know if it’s the dipping sauce or the zucchini fries but I’m dying to make this recipe from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen!
Turnip Fries with Greek Yogurt Dip – Another creative Eating Bird Food recipe that makes fries from turnips! Yum!
Healthy Side Dishes: Vegetables
To yourself or partner or child that thinks vegetables are boring… I’m here to prove them wrong! These are my favorite healthy vegetable side dish recipes.
Maple Roasted Squash with Tahini Yogurt Dressing – If the picture above doesn’t make your mouth water, something’s wrong with you. Kidding! But make this side stat.
Cauliflower Rice Stuffing – Who said stuffing is only for Thanksgiving? Secretly packed with veggies and ready in under 20 minutes.
Perfect Roasted Potatoes – You can’t go wrong with roasted potatoes! I’ve done a lot of tests and can assure you these are perfect!
Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts – Roasted brussels sprouts are one of my go-to veggie sides. I took that and upgraded with maple syrup and bacon. So good!
Roasted Maple Dijon Carrots – Another upgraded recipe for a classic. These maple dijon mustard carrots are delicious year round!
Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad – Eat this as a side salad or throw some protein on top and call it a full meal!
Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Balsamic – another delicious brussel sprout side! This time roasted to perfection with balsamic vinegar.
Chimichurri Grilled Corn – If you’re looking for a way to spice up your standard summer corn on the cob, look no further than this recipe! It’s simple to make and the perfect side for your next barbecue!
Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas with Tahini + Za’atar – I love nothing more than roasted cauliflower with tahini! The chickpeas add a nice crispy taste with a protein punch!
Charred Green Beans with Garlic and Pomegranate Seeds – The combination of the roasted green beans and the pop of sweetness from the pomegranate will leave you wanting more… trust me.
Lemon Ginger Asparagus with Toasted Almonds – The flavor combination in this side dish is so tasty! Delicious year round but especially in the spring and summer.
Broccoli Cheddar Fritters – My kiddo loves this recipe! Simple ingredients and a great way to sneak in some broccoli!
Peach Spinach Salad – You can’t go wrong with a staple side salad! This peach and spinach salad from Ambitious Kitchen looks amazing.
Thai Zucchini Noodle Salad – I went through a zucchini noodle phase where I was eating them with practically every meal. This is one of my favorite creations from that stage and love that it highlights two veggies: zucchini and peppers.
Orange Radicchio Salad – I’ve been making this so much this spring! Love the bright, refreshing flavors. Sprinkle on a little cheese for more delicious flavor!
Rosemary Butternut Squash – Hello butternut squash! This recipe uses simple ingredients but is packed full of nutrients!
Lemon Herb Zucchini Noodle Salad – Another zucchini noodle salad. These take close to no time to whip up and really highlight those summer veggies including fresh herbs!
Roasted Vegetables with Tahini Sauce – You cannot go wrong with this easy and healthy side dish! Roast up your favorite veggies with some olive oil and salt and top with the best tahini sauce!
Roasted Fingerling Potatoes – Roasted fingerlings are so easy to make but seem extra fancy. These are a great side dish for a dinner party!
Avocado Corn Salad – Eating Bird Food took two of my favorite summer foods and made a salad!
Creamy Cucumber Salad – Few things are more refreshing than cucumber in the summer. Can’t wait to try this creamy salad from Fit Foodie Finds.
Avocado Strawberry Mango Salsa – Can’t forget about fruit sides! This strawberry mango salsa from Ambitious Kitchen is happening the next time we have happy hour or a Mexican fiesta!
Simple Citrus Salad – Apparently if you’re eating your fruit plain, you’re doing it wrong. This citrus salad from A Couple Cooks is paired with a lemon juice vinaigrette and fresh mint and my mouth is watering.
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From grains to fries to plenty of veggies packed full of vitamins and minerals, you’ve got at least 35 healthy side dishes to pull you through your next few months. Happy cooking!
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Alexis @ HummusapienMarch 7, 2015 at 2:27 pm
I’m gonna pick 4 and bust them out in a hot 60 minutes. WEEE! Thanks for including me, love!
Arman @ thebigmansworldMarch 7, 2015 at 3:05 am
Potatoes. My side of choice. Or main. Depending on the day/laziness.
I need the peanut slaw.
Ashley | Spoonful of FlavorMarch 6, 2015 at 10:17 pm
Side dishes are the best! I love this list and pinned it for later. Thank you so much for including my recipe!
KimMarch 6, 2015 at 2:59 pm
Thanks for all the great side recipes in one place – I do struggle with choosing sides a lot!
Have a great time in Chicago!!
Davida KugelmassMarch 6, 2015 at 3:31 pm
Now the hard part is going to be choosing from amongst this list haha. Just got back from Chicago actually! But off to Dublin next week 🙂
Nicole @ Foodie Loves FitnessMarch 6, 2015 at 2:57 pm
Yum, I need to give your grilled sesame ginger bok choy a try!
Davida KugelmassMarch 6, 2015 at 3:32 pm
Yes!!! I cannot wait for grilling season!!!
ChelseyMarch 6, 2015 at 1:11 pm
I love sides so much so this is amazing! 4 out of 5 nights I’ll have a smorgasbord of sides for dinner. Lately, spaghetti squash with marinara sauce has been calling my name and a meal just doesn’t seem like a meal without roasted sweet potatoes!
Davida KugelmassMarch 6, 2015 at 3:33 pm
Agreed! Love my sweet taters. The best is the “pick your veggies” option at Westville. I could eat their veggie sides for daysssssss
ChelseyMarch 6, 2015 at 3:59 pm
That’s exactly what I was thinking of, but wasn’t sure if you were familiar with it…my favorite!!!
Davida KugelmassMarch 6, 2015 at 7:40 pm
THE BEST!!! I legit miss it everyday haha. Go there for me!
Chelsea @ Chelsea's Healthy KitchenMarch 6, 2015 at 12:09 pm
Side dishes are always where I struggle too. When I’m cooking for myself I swear I just have roasted sweet potatoes and broccoli on the side 99% of the time. But it can definitely get boring. Great ideas here!
Davida KugelmassMarch 6, 2015 at 3:35 pm
I’m in the 99% too haha. But sweet taters never get old…EVER.
CassieMarch 6, 2015 at 11:30 am
The cheesy zucchini and the cauliflower rice sound sooooo good!
Davida KugelmassMarch 6, 2015 at 3:34 pm
right?! Can’t wait to try both of those!
Ang @ Nutty for LifeMarch 6, 2015 at 11:08 am
You posted this at the perfect time because sides are my arch nemesis. They’re always on the back burner for me, and I end up eating like, steamed broccoli at the last minute. #lame.
Davida KugelmassMarch 6, 2015 at 3:40 pm
Same hurrrr. Or green pancakes…whatever!
TiffMarch 6, 2015 at 9:41 am
Thanks for this. Everything I cook these days has to be quick quick quick! That bok choy looks fantastic!